Law Enforcement Salary Guide

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In 2008, there were over 880,000 police and detectives employed in the United States. The employment of police and detectives is forecasted to rise to over 960,000 in 2018. Police and detectives are employed in various occupational titles like first-line supervisors or managers, detectives and criminal investigators, fish and game warden, police and sheriff's patrol officers, and transit and railroad police. Here's a salary guide for various occupational titles in law enforcement.

First-Line Supervisors or Managers of Police and Detectives
The general task of a first-line supervisor or manager in law enforcement is to coordinate and manage the activities of the police and detectives. A first-line supervisor is expected to manage the investigation of criminal cases, maintain departmental records, organize police operations, cooperate with court officials, monitor performance of subordinates, and so on. To become a first-line supervisor, you need to have an associate degree, bachelor degree or higher, depending on the job requirements. Work experience is also an important factor for consideration. The mean annual salary for first-line supervisor was about $80,000 in 2008.

Detectives and Criminal Investigators
Detectives and criminal investigators have to investigate cases where local, State or Federal laws may be violated. These law enforcement officers wear plainclothes and their main duties are to collect facts and evidence for criminal cases, examine records, monitor the suspects, conduct interviews, and take part in arrests or raids. It's common for detectives to specialize in a specific crime such as kidnapping, fraud or homicide. To qualify as a detective or criminal investigator, you will have to work as a police officer for a minimum of 3 years. The basic education requirement is high school but many detectives and criminal investigators obtain associate degrees or bachelor's degrees for higher chance of promotion. In 2008, the median salary for detectives was approximately $60,000 per annum.

Fish and Game Wardens
Fish and game wardens are officers who uphold the laws pertaining to hunting, fishing, and boating. Their main duties are to patrol fishing and hunting areas, follow up on accidents and complaints, carry out search and rescue procedures, and contribute in prosecuting court cases. In most states, fish and game wardens are required to have at least an associate degree. Once they are accepted into the force, they have to undergo special training for 3 to 12 months. In 2008, the median salary for fish and game wardens was close to $49,000.

Police and Sheriff's Patrol Officers
Police and sheriff's patrol officers are tasked with general law enforcement duties. Uniformed police officers maintain patrols in their areas, enforce traffic laws, respond to calls for service, identify and arrest suspected criminals, and so on. Sheriff's patrol officers have similar duties but they work on the county level. The minimum requirement for these uniformed officers is a high school diploma but they have to attend training at the academy. In 2008, the median salary for police and sheriff's patrol officers is about $51,000.

Transit and Railroad Police
The main task of transit and railroad police is to protect and safeguard transit and railroad property, including the passengers and employees. To qualify for the position, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. You will also be required to undergo training at the academy. In 2008, the median salary for transit and railroad police is about $56,000.
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